Chile Travel: Insider Tips

Chile Travel: Insider Tips

September 27, 2011

Chile stretches over half of South America, 2,670 miles, across dry deserts to volcanoes, geysers, beach, lakes, rivers, islands, all the way to massive glacial fields. About 1,600 miles are connected with head-to-toe roads in excellent condition. This varied landscape makes Chile one of the most dynamic nations. Safe, efficient, and friendly, the hardest part of planning your trip will be picking an itinerary. There are a few important things to know before beginning your Chile travel.

Decide when and where you want to go. Because Chile stretches from the tropics and practically touches Antarctica, it is important to research what is right for you. Many services and attractions in Patagonia are closed in the end of March, and the high season is from December to February during Chilean summer. The middle of Chile is the best during the spring (September – November) or fall (February – April). The Atacama Desert in Northern Chile can be explored year-round but summer (December – February) tends to be hot and rainy. If you’re a ski fanatic, Chile has some of the continents best skiing during June – October.


For Spanish speakers it might take time to get use to the Chilean dialects. For non-Spanish speakers, pick up an English-Spanish dictionary or learn a few basic phrases. However, many people, especially in tourist areas will speak English.

Bring some tissue, or buy some in Chile. In general, public toilets are not always maintained to American standards.

Carry some small bills. Chilean pesos (CH$ ) come in denominations of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000 and 20,000 pesos but it can be difficult to change bills larger than CH00 in rural areas. Exchange rates are usually the best in Santiago, and generally only Santiago will have a ready market for European currencies. U.S. cash is sometimes acceptable, especially at tour agencies but be sure to check their exchange rate carefully. Also while on the topic of money, it is customary to tip 10% in restaurants, but there is no need to tip taxi drivers but feel free to round up the fare.

As for activities around Chile, there are too many to mention and way too much variety, trust me that whatever pleases you will be available. The food in Chile is as varied as the landscapes, try empanadas, bistec a lo pobre, cazuela, and congrio frito. Dine out at many of the fine restaurants where you can try local or international cuisine, and be sure to taste some of Chile’s fine wines. Carmenere is Chile’s standout varietal, although they have some of the best wines in the world and there are many options

Wherever you go and whatever you do, Chile travel will not disappoint.

These insider tips for a vacation in Chile was written by a Chile travel expert at Chile For Less available to help you custom design your exciting Chile vacations.

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